Cryer, Ann (1 of 3). The History of Parliament Oral History Project
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Interviewee's home, Shipley, West Yorkshire
Cryer, Ann, 1939- (speaker, female)
Irving, Henry, 1986- (speaker, male)
Part 1: [Session One: 15 March 2014] Ann Cryer (AC) [nee Constance Ann Place] born 14 December 1939 in Lytham St Annes. Description of early life in Preston and Darwen. Mentions impact of Second World War and father’s work for Post Office. Mentions meeting Bob Cryer (BC), BC’s involvement with the Labour Party and the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. Mentions family involvement in cotton mills. [03:22] Description of AC's education and secretarial training at Bolton Technical College. Mentions working as a junior clerk at ICI. [05:52] Further description of AC’s family background. Description of grandmother [Dinah Place]’s involvement in Independent Labour Party and Women’s Suffrage Movement. Mentions impact of First World War on family’s pacifism. [09:40 interruption by road works]. Mentions father’s work on a land drainage scheme in the Trough of Bowland during Second World War. Mentions hostility towards pacifists. Description of AC’s involvement with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Labour Party. [14:02] Description of AC’s initial involvement with the Labour Party. Mentions involvement with the Post Office Workers’ Union and being chosen to attend an international conference at the Sonnenberg Centre. Describes meeting BC at Labour Party Conference at Blackpool in 1961. Mentions BC’s involvement in Labour Party and CND. [18:49] Description of AC’s career aspirations and family’s attitude to education. [20:28] Description of AC’s successful election to Darwen Non-County Borough Council in 1962. Mentions not being heavily involved in Post Office Workers’ Union. Mentions engagement to BC and her pregnancies. Describes move from Darwen to Oakworth, Keighley. [25:35] Reflection on balance between political and family life. Mentions leaving Post Office. [28:28] Description of BC’s adoption as Labour Party candidate for Darwen. Mentions father’s influence on process. Description of campaign and family’s support. [31:37] Mentions moving to Oakworth. Description of BC’s involvement with the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. Description of AC’s continued involvement with the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. [36:31] Description of practical implications of AC’s move to Keighley. Mentions difficulties bringing up children and feeling of loneliness. [38:32] Description of AC’s work as an oral history researcher on a 1911 census project organised by Paul Thompson, University of Essex. Reflection on AC’s interest in history and its impact on her political views. [45:08] Description of BC and AC’s further political involvement. Mentions BC’s election to Keighley Borough Council and his decision to stand as a parliamentary candidate. Mentions BC’s involvement in ‘Stop the 70 Tour’ campaign. Mentions BC’s successes in February and October 1974 General Elections. Mentions canvassing. [52:40] Description of AC’s attempt to attain a teaching qualification. Mentions giving up teacher training to work as BC’s assistant. Reflects on procedure for expenses. Mentions changes to expenses system after 1979 General Election. Description of BC’s approach to advice surgeries. [58:44] Description of BC’s defeat in 1983 General Election. Reflection on the impact of boundary changes in 1983 General Election. [01:01:31] Description of AC’s views on parliament from the perspective of a MP’s spouse. Mentions BC’s appointment as a junior minister and meeting other MPs. Reflection on BC’s character. Mentions continued work with local Labour Party. [01:06:20] Description of BC’s time as an MEP for Sheffield. Mentions Euro-scepticism. [01:09:04] Reflection on AC’s own lack of political ambition. Mentions being asked to stand as a candidate following BC’s death. Description of car accident and BC’s death. Description of selection process for Bradford South and selection of Gerry Sutcliffe. Mentions speed of process. [01:11:17] Description of AC’s selection as parliamentary candidate for Keighley. Mentions local debate about decision to use an all-women shortlist. Mentions being asked to stand by Cedric Binns as a local candidate. Mentions being asked to make decision by daughter while on holiday in Zimbabwe. [01:17:31] Reflection on being selected as a prospective parliamentary candidate. Mentions limited experience of public speaking. Description of selection conferences in Ilkley and Keighley. Mentions using the experience gained while working as BC’s assistant. [01:24:27] Description of legal case against Keighley Labour Party for use of all-women shortlist. Mentions mother’s death. Mentions meeting her second late husband [John Hammersley (JH)]. Mentions being supported by Tessa Jowell. [01:28:54] Description of son [John Cryer (JC)]’s decision to stand for parliament in Hornchurch. Description of 1997 General Election count. [01:32:10] Reflection on decision to write biography of BC [Boldness by My Friend (Bradford, 1996)]. [01:34:25] Description of AC’s work as a magistrate [01:34:50 interruption as leaflet is delivered] [Pause to check front door]. [01:35:57] Description of packing up BC’s offices in the House of Commons and Bradford. Mentions having earlier wanted to be a Justice of the Peace (JP). Reflection on need to re-build confidence following car accident. [01:40:07] Reflection on AC’s life in c. 1997. Mentions her enjoyment as a candidate. Reflection on AC’s lack of political ambition. Description of decision taken by AC in 2008 to stand down as an MP at the next election.
Life story interview with Ann Cryer (1939-), former Labour Member of Parliament.